Israeli troops killed two Islamic Jihad militants Saturday, including the leader of its militant wing in Nablus.
Islamic Jihad said Hani Awijan, 29, was killed by Israeli undercover troops. They came to arrest him while he was playing soccer with friends and relatives, the group said.
Another Islamic Jihad militant also was killed.
The Israeli army confirmed that soldiers operated in Nablus and said a militant was killed in an exchange of fire.
Israel Radio said Awijan was responsible for a series of attacks on Israelis. Over the last 17 months, Islamic Jihad has been responsible for all 12 suicide bombing attacks in Israel, which have killed 71 people.
Islamic Jihad announced Awijan’s death from mosque loudspeakers. Large crowds gathered as news of the raid spread through Nablus. Militants burned tires in the streets and called for a general strike in the city. Shops quickly closed.
Although most international attention is on the conflict in Lebanon and the monthlong Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israeli forces carry out nightly arrest raids in the West Bank, searching for suspected militants. On many nights, more than 20 are detained.